Guitarras de Artesania
The Story of My 1915 Manuel Ramirez
by David Macias

The Story of My 1915 Manuel Ramirez

Around 1988 I had already built some 25 to 30 classical and flamenco guitars, as I had started in 1969. A friend of mine, Steve Pepper, a collector of antique furniture, China dinnerware, and all kinds of odds and ends, frequented yard sales, flea markets, etc. He was familiar with classical guitars, so I asked him to pick up whatever guitars he could find, and I would give him double the price he paid for them. I used these ordinary guitars as practice for repairing cracks, refinishing and so on. I generally sold these guitars for a lot more than I had paid for them. One day he brought me an old guitar in a very beat up case. I opened the case, and looked at the label. I loudly exclaimed, "Oh! My God, a 1915 Manuel Ramirez!" I could not believe my eyes! I immediately asked Steve as to where had he gotten such a prize. He told me that the vendor was from the Bay Area, Northern California.

Sadly, my friend Steve passed away recently. The Ramirez looked as if it had never been played much, it still had remnants of gut strings. The fingerboard showed no signs of wear. The back had become unglued all around the lower bout, The back was somewhat twisted. The top had a crack on the bass side, and a smaller crack right against the finger board also on the same side. The finish was quite good, after all these years. The machine heads worked quite well, a little stiff.

My first thought was that I would have the guitar restored sometime. I have had it for 25 years or so. Three years ago I contacted two well known guitar restorers, but both were too busy. So I felt I now had the experience to do myself. It took me about one year to get the job done, as I went about it very slowly, and carefully.

Recently I had two well experienced classic guitarists check the Manuel Ramirez out. Both gave me high marks. Dave Schramm, classical guitarist and Luthier, and Ruben Delgado a classical guitarist, and composer. They both liked the sound, action, and looks of the Ramirez. I am now doing all the historical data, paperwork, drawings, photos of what was done to restore the guitar.

David Macias playing the 1915 Ramirez he just restored.




Close-up of Rosette.


Repaired soundboard.

Guitar in it's original case.

Guitar and case.

Original Case.
Fresno, California

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